After its passage by the House of Representatives Nov. 5, President Biden plans to sign the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Monday, Nov. 15, authorizing billions of new funding for broadband and cybersecurity, in addition to traditional infrastructure, the administration announced Nov. 10.
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill – colloquially known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) – carries significant funding for broadband infrastructure, as well as funding for grants for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and electric grid owners and operators to shore up their cybersecurity practices.
“Last week, we took a monumental step forward as a nation, and we did something long overdue and long talked about in Washington but almost never actually done: The House of Representatives passed my Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill,” President Biden said at the Port of Baltimore Nov. 10.
BIF includes $65 billion for broadband that the administration says will help bring “high-speed Internet for every American.” The largest chunk of the broadband funding is $42.4 billion for a Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program. The bill also includes $2 billion in cybersecurity funding.
President Biden will sign the bill joined by some of the legislation’s architects on both sides of the aisle, as well as governors and mayors from across the country.
Build Back Better Up Next
After that, one part of President Biden’s legislative agenda will be complete and Democratic leadership in Congress will turn to pushing its $1.75 trillion-plus reconciliation bill – known as the Build Back Better Act (BBB) – across the finish line.
The House had previously planned to vote on the reconciliation bill along with BIF, but a small group of House moderates wanted to see a score on the bill from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) before voting on its passage. Leadership worked out a deal where the House voted on a rule for the bill’s consideration, while leadership committed to voting on the bill no later than the week of Nov. 15.
While the CBO score is not expected to be ready by Nov. 15, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., leader of the House Progressive Caucus, said the caucus feels confident in the promise given. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a Dear Colleague letter that the House will resume consideration of the BBB when the chamber returns to session on Nov. 15.
As far as the Senate, while Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said publicly that he wants the chamber to pass BBB by Thanksgiving, the timeline there is murkier.
After a recent report on rising inflation, Axios reported that there are rumblings that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., could push passage of the bill to a later date, maybe even through the new year.
The administration, for its part, is pushing for passage of the BBB as part of its plan to help fight rising inflation in conjunction with the BIF.
“Along with another plan that I’m advancing, [the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] is going to reduce the cost of goods to consumers and businesses, and get people back to work, helping us build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out that — where everybody is better off,” President Biden said.